August 1, 2007
-- by Dave Johnson
Apparently the US Attorney firings were not JUST about political prosecutions. At least one was fired because he wouldn't play ball with the corruption machine.
The night before the government secured a guilty plea from the manufacturer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, a senior Justice Department official called the U.S. attorney handling the case and, at the behest of an executive for the drugmaker, urged him to slow down, the prosecutor told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.With this in mind, look back at a few other examples of the Justice Department's handling of big-money corporate cases. Remember when the Bush Justice Department let Microsoft off the hook after the Clinton Justice Department had already won the case? And how about when the Bush Justice Department let the tobacco companies off the hook on payment for killing millions?
John L. Brownlee, the U.S. attorney in Roanoke, testified that he was at home the evening of Oct. 24 when he received the call on his cellphone from Michael J. Elston, then chief of staff to the deputy attorney general and one of the Justice aides involved in the removal of nine U.S. attorneys last year.
Brownlee settled the case anyway. Eight days later, his name appeared on a list compiled by Elston of prosecutors that officials had suggested be fired.
How many similar cases can you recall? These cases were worth billions of dollars to the companies involved. How much money changed hands? There are some nice, fat Swiss bank accounts out there.
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